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The causes of nose bleeds

Most nose bleeds are not life threatening or particularly serious but can be very frightening and dramatic for children and even for some adults. Even though most nose bleeds are harmless it should be noted that some medical attention is always required if you do suffer from this condition. The medical term for a nose bleed is known as epistaxis.

Types of nosebleeds

Anterior epistaxis – this type of nose bleeding is the most common and occurs when a network of blood vessels in the nasal septum or mucus membrane bursts. Blood usually comes out through the nasal passages (nostrils) and even down the throat. This type of nose bleed can be easily controlled.

Posterior epistaxis – this type of nose bleeding is more uncommon and usually occurs in seniors. Nose bleeding in this case occurs when an artery at the back of the nose bursts. This type of bleeding is often very heavy and is considered more serious. Posterior epistaxis often requires hospital attention.

Causes of nose bleeds

There are thousands of cases worldwide where experts and medical practitioners have not yet found the exact cause of nose bleeds; as there are cases where no identifiable cause can be found. In most cases, however, anterior epistaxis may be due to injury, dry membranes or infection.

The major causes behind nose bleeds can be summarized as follows: -

  • Blowing your nose hard or blowing your nose frequently
  • Rubbing, banging or bumping your nose
  • Picking your nose
  • Smoking tobacco
  • Substance abuse (sniffing cocaine)
  • A perforated or deviated nasal septum (broken nose)
  • Recent nasal surgery (if you have had any nasal surgery recently and it continues to bleed – please speak to your doctor)
  • Chronic stress
  • Allergic rhinitis (hayfever)
  • Working or playing out in the sun too much (causes a dry nose)
  • Those who live in dry climates
  • Nose bleeds occur often in climbers or mountaineers when they reach high altitudes, where the amount of oxygen is very low resulting in a dry nose.
  • Heavy medications can also cause nose bleeds. Such as the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or aspirin and anti-coagulants that act as a blood thinner.
  • Chronic sinus infections
  • Other diseases that may be potential factors of nose bleeding are platelet disorders, liver & kidney diseases, chronic alcohol abuse and blood clotting disorders (these are serious health conditions and should be treated by a medical professional). High blood pressure in itself does not contribute to a bleeding nose, but anxiety and tension contributing to a high BP may cause serious nose bleeds in young and old alike.

Although nose bleeds are extremely common and in most cases harmless, it is advisable that if you do have a nosebleed that is difficult to control or that does not stop – please, see a doctor immediately so that the cause can be identified and the bleeding stopped.


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